Saturday, March 17, 2012

To Write and Write Not

Writing cards by Sami Keinänen
Writing cards, a photo by Sami Keinänen on Flickr.
In the beginning, the Editor spoke of style and performance . But to the writer the phrase style as performance/performance as style was without form, let alone style, and utter blankness was within the mind of the writer. But the Editor had asked, "So would you be interested in doing a piece?" and the writer had thought up a piece. The Editor thought about the piece and decided the piece might work; and the Editor gave the writer a deadline.

At times to work is not to work.
At times to consider is not to consider.
A deadline is ruthless.
The more yielding it seems,
the stiffer it stands.
The ten thousand things call for attention.
The writer e-mailed the Editor: "My Lady! Most highly enlightened one, holy editorial manifestation of Krishna, thou praisest renunciation of worry, and yet thou engenderest worry. Tell me truly, in your next communication, exactly when you need me to turn in this article--in order that I may plan my seasonal activities according to our venerable traditions and yet not take a vacation during an inopportune week." The Lord Shri Editor replied: "Worry and the renunciation of worry both lead to the same consequence: the article will be turned in. Only the misguided focus on the deadline rather than on the path of action; she who knows that the two are one will stop worrying."

In the beginning were the styles, and the performance was of the styles, and the performance was the styles. And the Editor so trusted the writer that she sent only one reminder e-mail, that the writer should not feel harried but would turn in the article of her own accord. And the writer thought, "O Editor, You have agreed to this concept, and although it was my concept, so now is it Your concept, for I have given You the concept, and as I have given You the concept so have

You given it to the journal, and so now is it a concept of the journal, though it will be in the journal rather than of the journal, but it will glorify the journal, and glorify You in the journal as You have glorified me by assigning me the article which will belong to the journal and to me, and in a way to You through me, as it belongs to me through You, though I will probably end up with the reprint rights."

And so I sat me down unto the task
Of searching deep within my being
For answers to what only I could ask.
I twisted back and saw myself agreeing,
Though on a path across a different field,
A different sight ahead in full view seeing.
That sight, forsaken now, again appealed,
My joy replaced by Herculean labor,
A horror at the thought of which I reeled.
Just then a hairy being with a tabor
Came into view atop the hill ahead.
It seemed a friend, but still I clutched my sabre.
During a courtship of the Muse, it is not unusual for obstacles to arise. At such times, those suitors less capable of single-minded application may find their thoughts philandering, even keeping opprobrious company with that so dissimilar spirit Mammon. But as the writer, now residing as she did at her aunt's in H--, was in no position to affect an air of scandal when confronted with conduct of that nature, she sensibly did not judge herself with undue harshness for turning her attention to the unfashionable subject of making a living.

"I won't allow it!" she cried, slamming her glass against the table's top with such force that the others fully expected it would splinter. Her lips quivered, even trembled, and leaping to her feet, she was forced to reach for the back of a café chair to steady herself or risk toppling to the floor in her fury. I am morbidly sensitive, she thought--disgusting, diseased, a coward and a superstitious slave. Yet I am not dissatisfied with myself, merely unfit to live. "Bring me more tea," she mumbled, gesturing at the samovar with a shrug. "You've exploded again," said Ivan Petrovich. "What am I to do with you? You're ill. Even the prospect of a fine honorarium is not enough to cajole you into containing these runaway emotions."

The violet in the dewy glade--
The berry on its bush--
Stand tall--'tis true--and silent
Without the need to rush
But as the sun begins to drop
And I perforce to think--
I turn aside--'Tis time to do
Those dishes--in the sink--
She was the one writing. Being the one writing she was doing being a writer. Doing being the one writing she was writing unless she was the one not writing. There were times. Doing writing at times was doing writing and at times was doing being a writer doing writing. This was doing being a writer which is being a writer. At times she was not writing. And being not writing is being a writer who is not writing which is not being a writer.

Ah but there's only one way as my Da told us while Ma was starching the sheets you know it takes one to know one go ahead type the article right through from the start and then you'll get your supper and don't you get saucy with me Béarnaise and soon as soon was I was walking so fast in the soft warm blackness past the squash-yellow and red painted pubs with ivy dripping in the window dodging the raindrops as if you could to the chemists on her corner a Walgreens to meet there and how was I to know with myself caught up in nail laquers every colour and more next to the boxes with their perfect rows of Q-tips that she'd come after and wait not inside but out and beyond the spot that opens the automatic doors just like that Tom O'Halloran seven years back lumbering half an hour up and down in the hot sun while I sat deserted in that hotel lobby looking for all the world like being flat stood up at 9 a.m. with the thought of well if it's to be then at least it's luxury and paneling and soft deep chairs but then he thought to look into the cool and found me just like Rhonda did coming in from the rain with a cry of oh you're there after all and we made short work of prosciutto wrapped around tiny chunks of cantaloupe for her and little toasts for me with all the toppings falling off tomatoes from one and mushrooms from the other and the warm sweet oil all over my fingers and in the margins of the pages too but here I said here it is Here.

Styles performed above: The Book of Genesis, The Tao Te Ching, The Bhagavad Gita, The Gospel of John, Dante Alighieri, Jane Austen, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Emily Dickinson, Gertrude Stein, and James Joyce, respectively.

Robbins, Maggie

Source Citation Robbins, Maggie. "To Write and Write Not." Southwest Review 95.1-2 (2010): 283+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 17 Mar. 2012.
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Gale Document Number: GALE|A226363810

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